St Davids has the honor of being not only the UK’s smallest city but also one of the most beautiful. The birth and burial place of Wales’ patron saint, the town, and the magnificent 12th-century cathedral, have become a place of pilgrimage for over 1000 years.
Set within the rocky and majestic Pembrokeshire countryside, on one side of the town, there are majestic hills, the other a breathtaking and unforgiving coastline that has helped attract visitors to the mythical and holy location. These days, the majority of pilgrims are surfers and other outdoor adventurers who have come to take advantage of the incredible location.
But what happens when the sun goes down? Quite a bit it seems, as once again St Davids proves for a small town, it’s got a lot going for it.
1. Enjoy a pint at the Farmers Arms
Like any great Welsh town, the pub is the heart and soul of the community and you would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the Farmers Arms. Offering great food and local Welsh ales, the character-filled building has a warm welcome for weary travelers or just those looking for a fun night. With views of the cathedral from the outside patio, it’s a great place to relax in the evening and soak up the sun.
Handily, in the summer months, there’s even an outside bar so you don’t have to venture far to top up your drinks. In the colder months, there’s an open fire in the bar area, making it a cosy nook to spend the evening. With live music and quiz nights, there’s always something going on here, so it’s well worth a visit, at any time of the year.
The Farmers Arms
Address: 14 - 16 Goat Street, St Davids, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA62 6RF
Website: The Farmers Arms
2. Feast at the Shed, Porthgain
One of the best bits of heading to the coast is getting to enjoy the fish and seafood, caught that day and while there’s a lot on offer near St Davids, the Shed, in Porthgain, is worth singling out. Around a ten-minute drive from St Davids, Porthgain is a former industrial harbor that was used to ship slate from nearby quarries to around the world. While it’s no longer in use, many of the buildings remain and offer an interesting view while you enjoy the delicious food at the Shed, which can be found in the center of the harbor.
Using locally sourced fish and produce, it’s a real taste of the best St Davids has to offer. As well as the Fish and Chip menu, they also offer a range of other fish, meat and vegetarian choices. It’s not every day you can enjoy your dinner in such a unique setting!
The Shed Bistro
Address: The Shed Bistro, Porthgain, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA625BN
Website: The Shed Bistro
3. Admire cathedral views at The Bishops
Named after a group of rocks off St Davids Head and Ramsey Island, the Bishops is a great family pub that offers a real step into St David’s history. The whitewashed building makes way for a cosy and rustic interior that is the perfect location to spend an evening. Offering fresh fish, as well as a range of other dishes, you will be hard to find something not to your taste, here.
Found on Cross Square, in the center of the village, it boasts views of the cathedral, which can be reached via a short walk from the rear garden.
What more can you ask for?
Address: The Bishops, 22 - 23 Cross Square, St Davids, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6SL
Website: The Bishops
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4. Experience evening song at the cathedral
A visit to St Davids Cathedral isn’t complete until you have experienced the magical and holy building come to life. Choral Evensong or Evening Prayer takes place at 6:00 pm every day, and with a suggested donation of £5 (6.50 USD), it is well worth the visit.
Even if you aren’t of a religious persuasion, the experience can be a moving and mythical one and gives a glimpse to how the cathedral has been used, since it was founded in the 12-century.
St Davids Cathedral
Address: St Davids Cathedral, The Pebbles, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6RD
Website: St Davids Cathedral
5. Explore the delights of Solva
Recently used as the film location for an adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, Solva is a charming fishing village, just a short drive from St Davids. Lying to the north side of St Bride’s Bay, it sits on the river Solva and is split into two parts, known as Upper and Lower Solva. The lower area is where you will find the picturesque harbor and Solva Woollen Mill, the oldest continuously working cotton mill in Pembrokeshire.
It also has two excellent pubs in the center of the village, the Cambrian Inn and the Royal George, which are perfect for enjoying an evening meal or drink while taking in the views of the harbor and beyond.
Solva isn’t a huge place, so it is perfect for an evening visit, as you can enjoy a stroll around the village and a tasty meal, all in one night.
The Cambrian Inn
Address: 6 Main Street, Solva, Pembrokeshire SA62 6UU
Website: The Cambrian Inn
The Royal George
Address: 13 High Street, Solva, Pembrokeshire SA62 6TF
Website: The Royal George
6. Dine in style at Cwtch Restaurant
St Davids’ most famous restaurant, Cwtch, is an award-winning eatery, known in the area for its superb food and fantastic atmosphere. The locally sourced menu is so fresh that, at times, it is not finalised until 4 pm the same day, meaning the creations on offer will always be the most innovative and tasty dishes the kitchen can whip up, that day. If you want a real taste of what Pembrokeshire and Welsh fine cuisine has to offer, Cwtch is a great place to find out.
The word ‘Cwtch’ has no direct translation into English but it refers to a special type of affectionate cuddle and this is the kind of atmosphere the restaurant has strived to create. Luckily, they have managed to do it very well, and with great food and welcoming staff, you’re guaranteed a great Welsh night out.
Address: 22 High Street, St Davids, Pembrokeshire SA62 6SD
Website: Cwtch Restaurant
Be enchanted by the magical St Davids
St Davids might be a small village, but the personality and character bursting from the welcoming community mean there’s always something going on. Whether it’s feasting on the local cuisine, exploring more of the delightful coastline or marveling at the historic and majestic monuments and buildings, you will be spoilt for choice. Just remember to conserve some energy from the day to make sure you can enjoy the evening to it’s fullest.
If you really fancy making the most of it, why not catch a boat from St Davids and stay overnight in the nearby nature reserve of Skomer Island. Famed for its natural beauty and wildlife, when else do you get the chance to spend the night on your very own island?
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